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Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise:
The Beautiful Unordinary

By Lorna Goodison Essay

AS A CHILD growing up on the island of Jamaica, it seemed to me that people, especially women, were always singing hymns as they went about their business. Women bending low over washtubs, or standing knee deep in swift-running rivers, would produce scrub rhythms from the friction of soaped cloth rubbed hard between fists, and…

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Laudes Creaturarum:
A Polyphony

By Kimberly Johnson Essay

IN ASSISI, THE SKY vaults clouded and serene against the foothills. *   Pietro, known as Francesco, devoted brother of his order, put quill to thirteenth-century parchment and began to praise. His inspiration was Psalm 148, whose Hebrew exhortations spur the sun and moon, the stars and highest heavens, tempests and mountains and wingèd birds…

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:
Dark Good News

By Linda Gregerson Essay

I LOVED THEM ALL, the hymns we sang in our red brick Methodist church on Christmas Eve. There was always snow, it never failed us, and the streetlamps cast lovely pools of light and shadow on the shoveled walks. We called it midnight service, though it actually began an hour earlier; we would have eaten…

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Be Thou My Vision:
Witness to the Revelation

By Scott Cairns Essay

I WAS RAISED IN A FAMILY for whom our Baptist church was very much an extension of our home. While that church was—as I might now parse such matters—a particularly cranky Baptist church, it offered nonetheless a loving community to those within it. More importantly, that community offered me a first taste of what I…

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Three Verses from Hallel:
Out of the Narrow Place

By Jacqueline Osherow Essay

From the narrow place, I called out to God; He answered me from the wideness of God. I OFFER THIS SOMEWHAT HOMELY, literal translation of Psalm 118, verse 5, because it seems to me—in its beautiful Hebrew, if not this clunky English version—to encapsulate what poetry is (or, at least, what it can be) more…

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The Image Turns Back

By Lauren Winner Essay

A POEM HAS CHANGED MY MIND about the Eucharist. For the better part of two decades—since I was baptized in a Cambridge college chapel, inaugurating my life not just as a Christian, but as a Christian of the Anglican-Episcopal sort—I have been mildly irked at my churches’ habit of using those small round wafers during…

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Hymn

By Mark Jarman Poetry

“Great is thy faithfulness,” __Say the leaves to the light. “Oh God, my father,” __Says darkness to night. “There is no shadow,” __Says the eye to the sun. “Of turning with thee,” __As tears start to burn. “All I have needed,” __Says the sand to the storm. “Thy hand has provided,” __Say the combs to…

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Hymn

By Jason Myers Poetry

Some of the things I was not doing at the age of twenty-two: learning the Latin names of flowers (or even their English ones) living abroad recording music with the intensity & abandon you hear on every single cut of At Last! on which Riley Hampton’s orchestra’s a tame & obliging brook under storm-spew’d sheets…

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